Disposing of Medicine

Disposing of MedicineWhen your doctor changes your medicine, you may have extra, un-used medicine around your home. This may include medicines taken by mouth, those in a patch, inhalers, eye or ear drops, creams or injections. When un-used medicines are kept at home, there is a risk that you could take the wrong medicine. You also want to keep them away from children or others who could abuse them or use them the wrong way. Therefore, it is important to discard those medicines to keep yourself and others in your home safe.  

If you are a caregiver, your loved one may not be able to do this or they may not remember to do this. You should review your loved one’s medicines regularly. Removing un-used medicines from their house will help keep them safe. 

You should discard un-used and/or old medicines on a regular basis. A good way to remember to do this is to have a scheduled time of year to check your medicines.  Remember, when you turn change your clock, check your medicine cabinet!

It is important to understand how to discard these medicines safely. Discarding them safely helps decrease misuse of medicine. Medicine should not be flushed down the toilet or given to other people. 

Tip Sheets for Disposing of Medicine

In general, most local health departments provide direction on how to safely discard those medicines. Controlled substances (examples: some pain, anxiety or hyperactivity medicines) may need to be taken to a special location. Information for areas in southeast Michigan can be found in the links below.  

Henry Ford Pharmacy Medication Disposal

The following Henry Ford pharmacies now have approved, secure receptacles available for Henry Ford patients to dispose of their unwanted medications:

To dispose of controlled substances, call your local police station. They may be able to tell you about local programs in your city or county. 

Disposing of Oral Chemotherapy Medicines

Normally you will not have extra oral chemotherapy, but if you do, follow these instructions: 

  • DO NOT flush down the toilet or sink. 
  • Call your county’s Public Health Department for instructions for disposal. 
  • If unable to call Public Health Department, please bring your extra oral chemotherapy to your next appointment in your hematology/oncology clinic.